Secessionists,rejoice: no nation outdistances Bolivia in the ferocity of its anti-Yankee rhetoric,and two opposition-controlled states voted overwhelmingly Sunday to in effect secede from the Union. Their autonomy measures aim to shield the Amazon basin from President Evo Morales’ socialist agenda
it’s hard to suppress warm feelings for nascent nations with names like Beni and Pando which passed autonomy measures by more than 80 percent of the vote, according to preliminary vote counts released Sunday evening.
Morales’ quest to empower Bolivia’s Indian majority has alienated the more cosmopolitan population of the eastern lowlands , including some American agro-expats anda large community of Mennonites , whose near sea level existence contrasts with the Tibetan altitude of La Paz were the national government presides.
The AP reports
“Government officials had encouraged Morales’ supporters to abstain from voting, and pro-Morales groups in the small Pando town of Filadelfia burned voting urns to protest the referendum.
Scattered clashes between autonomy backers and pro-Morales groups in the Beni state capital of Trinidad left about eight people injured, according to local media reports.
State leaders hailed the measure as the latest step in a growing decentralization push that opposition groups hope will provide a counterbalance to Morales’ populist government.
‘‘We ask the country and the world to respect our sovereign will to be autonomous,’’ said Beni Gov. Ernesto Suarez at victory rally in Trinidad, as autonomy supporters waved the green state flag and danced through the streets in traditional feathered head dresses.”
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